I don’t read a ton.
But when I do, I go for nonfiction books about career, leadership, mindfulness and social physiology. I know these aren’t the most popular genres, but if I’m taking the time to read I like to come away with a new tool, philosophy or perspective about how to be a better professional and person. I know other pros feel the same, but with so many good books out there it’s hard to pick!
Let me make it easy for you.
Whether you’re the occasional reader like me, or read a new book every week, I think you’ll enjoy my top three career reads for summer.
1. Quiet: This has been my favorite read in the past year. As an introvert, I often berate myself for not speaking up enough or being the life of the party. Quiet‘s author, Susan Cain, taught me to stop undervaluing myself as an introvert. I not only learned how to accept my quiet nature, but also how to leverage my tendency to listen rather than speak. My favorite part about this book were the stories of people who were/are secret introverts. People you would never expect, like record-breaking sales professionals, CEOs, professional speakers, and even folks like Rosa Parks, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak and many U.S. Presidents. All of them found a way to be successful and admired without having to be loud or pushy. Extremely well-written and researched, this book invites you to learn more about what makes introverts tick and how they can leverage their unique powers at work and in life.
2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: An oldie, but a goody. I’ve been trying to read this book for years and finally picked it up. Originally published in 1989, renowned leadership authority Stephen Covey shows you how to be a better leader, coworker, partner, parent and individual with 7 habits. These include 1. being proactive, 2. beginning with the end in mind, 3. putting first things first, 4. thinking WIN-WIN, 5. seeking to understand, then be understood, 6. synergize and 7. sharpening the saw. Stephen’s insights and personal anecdotes challenge readers to change their perspectives on how the world works and provides helpful tools and exercises to get started. If you’re looking for something truly thought-provoking and inspiring this summer, look no further than 7 Habits.
3. Search Inside Yourself: Mindfulness and meditation at work are popular topics right now, but they can also leave you wondering, ‘Where do I start?’ I had the same question last year as I was coordinating the mindfulness session at Dreamforce 2015. Thankfully, one of the speakers, Chade-Meng Tan, helped me find my answer. As one of Google’s earliest engineers, Meng is now devoted to teaching others how to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives. He created a course at Google called ‘Search Inside Yourself,’ and wrote a book by the same name to extend his teachings beyond the company’s campus. After working with him and listening to his presentation, I had to buy his book to learn more. Search Inside Yourself offers research and personal stories about the benefits of incorporating meditation and mindfulness into your life, as well as step-by-step practices to get you started. It will get you thinking about what it really means to be successful, and Meng’s self-deprecating sense of humor and hand-drawn comics will keep you smiling throughout this enlightening summer read.
What are you reading this summer?